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Electoral Process in Panama

Black and Flores say that, during the last half of the 19th century, the affairs of the isthmus were "in constant turmoil

. . . under forty administrations, fifty riots . . . five attempted secessions, and thirteen interventions by the United States. Coups d'etat, rebellions, and violence were almost continuous."

The Economist pointed out in 1998 that, "after its American-inspired split from Colombia in 1903, Panama was for decades run, under American tutelage, by the 'families,' a small political elite." Between 1904 and 1932, Panamanian governments were unstable and changed frequently, with the United States directly intervening five times in Panamanian domestic affairs, as it had a right to do under the Panama Canal treaty, to restore order. The domination of Panamanian politics by the oligarchy, which Black and Flores say "tended to be composed of a few, wealthy, white families" was interrupted by the election of the first nationalist leaders, Harmodio Arias, who came from a lower-class mestizo family and was elected president in 1932, and his brother, Arnulfo Arias, who succeeded him in 1940. Arnulfo Arias was, however, not only a nationalist but also a white supremacist and pro-Axis. He was deposed by the National Police in late 1941.

Constitutional rule was restored in 1946. In 1948, Arnulfo Arias' apparent victory in the 1948 presidential election was nullif


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Electoral Process in Panama. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 18:04, October 25, 2014, from
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